The Delaware State Dental Society (DSDS) will host the 8th Annual “Give Kids a Smile” and provide free dental care two days this month-February 11th and February 17th, 2012. Volunteers from the DSDS will also provide education and any needed referrals in a fun and upbeat atmosphere for patients and their families.
Because of this event many children benefit and avoid more costly and possibly irreversible damage to their primary and permanent teeth. Parents and patients both are educated and encouraged to practice proper diet and home-care to reduce the need for future invasive dental treatment.
As an orthodontist I’ve seen some children at this event with developmental problems that need to be addressed as well.
In orthodontics there are genetic and environmental components to a malocclusion. In other words, there are conditions that are inherited and seen in a patient from a very early age, and others that develop over time.
Genetic components include:
1. Mandibular prognathism = Large lower jaw (“Hapsburg jaw”)
2. Teeth size
3. Disproportionate size/shape of upper and lower jaws
4. Overbite (more significant genetically than overjet)
Environmental components include:
1. Muscular imbalances
2. Oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking
3. Diet choices, which can contribute to early tooth loss, and disruption of development
4. Overjet (more significant environmentally than overbite)
The individual attention I provide to a patient’s dental age, chronologic age, and any irregularities in development are accomplished best before the permanent teeth have all erupted- before age 12 yrs. The attachment below shows images of conditions that should to be evaluated for proper timing of intervention, no matter the age of the patient: